Can I Earn $1000 In A Month?
Posted On May 8, 2015
In January, I set off to simplify my life.
I called it my month of less.
“I want simple. I want organized, less stuff, less clutter, fewer decisions to make and errands to run. I want less time wasted, so that I can have more time doing things that I care about,” I wrote.
Today, I’m taking things in the opposite direction. This is my month of MORE… and by more I mean more money.
Do you ever wonder what life would be like if price and cost were a non issue? What it would be like to spend money unapologetically on things and experiences? I do.
I feel like a terrible person for admitting this, but I want fancy stuff. I want the royal treatment. The first class vacations and expensive shoes.
Shame on me, right? I should be grateful for what I have. I should count my blessings and aspire to do more noble things. I’m supposed to save, simplify, cut back, spend less, “never change” and “accept things as they are”.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m a very big believer in gratitude, self-acceptance, meaningful aspirations, and making smart financial decisions, but I have to ask – when did it become such a bad thing to want more?
And where do we draw the line between acceptance of what is, and settling for what is?
Go Out There and Get It
Bryan Harris from Video Fruit did a 48 hour challenge where he built a 100 person email list on a totally random subject: hammocking in Tennessee, and he pre-sold $250 worth of an ebook on local outdoor activities.
Noah Kagan of OK Dork challenged himself to earn $1000 in 24 hours with no idea or network to start with.
Neil Patel of QuickSprout is building a nutrition blog from scratch with a goal of making $100,000 per month from it. In 2 weeks, he published four posts and drove over 50,000 page views.
Aren’t those great stories?
I found them so inspiring. Their point? You don’t need a ton of money or time or technical know how to start a business. You just need a willingness to do the work and a little creativity. If you can do that, there’s no reason why you can’t start earning money today.
That’s why this month’s challenge of earning $1000 isn’t so much about the money as it is demanding more of ourselves and seeing what we’re really capable of doing.
Luckily, I had no shortage of ideas. I considered:
- Sewing and selling baby blankets or flannel scarves
- Offering freelance writing, marketing or social media services to local businesses and entrepreneurs (I do this sometimes)
- Helping people clean up their digital lives
- Creating a digital product to sell on this website, or one of my other wedding-related sites
I thought about starting a local nanny service (can someone please solve the childcare problem?) or an Instagram account called “Humans of Silicon Valley” where I photograph and interview Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and startup folks and post interesting bits of their stories and ideas on Instagram (yes – it’s a direct ripoff of Humans of NY).
Photograph by Brandon Stanton
I have many, far more silly ideas (don’t we all?). The point is, there are lots of creative ways to earn money.
But first, let me tell you a story.
The Rise and Fall of Idojour
Once upon a time, I (with some other wonderful ladies) curated a collection of beautiful, mostly handmade wedding attire and accessories and sold them online. We’d drop ship the products, meaning that when an order came in, we’d notify out suppliers who would then manufacture and ship the item directly to the customer.
The business was a modest success, but entirely unprofitable and unsustainable. Simultaneously dealing with customers and a dozen plus suppliers was stressful and difficult to manage. Marketing to a competitive, budget conscious and fickle audience was cutthroat and expensive. And I didn’t have the tools, experience or mindset to figure out how to make it all work. I tried. God knows I tried.
Eventually, we closed the shop. It was a blow to the ego and a failure that continues to haunt me, but failure breeds experience and with it comes wisdom and that’s something I must remind myself of frequently.
Today, the wedding blog remains and receives a steady flow of traffic, all without me lifting a finger.
Have a look at the stats:
All this traffic and I don’t earn a dime from it because I haven’t been monetizing the site.
It’s time to change that.
I decided that I owed it to myself to give Idojour another shot. I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t leverage this existing, traffic generating platform and at least try to make some money from it.
QUESTION 1: How am I planning on earning $1000 from a wedding blog?
Honestly, I’m not 100% sure yet. I’m feeling very uncertain and doubtful about my ability to pull this off.
But I’m learning from people like Bryan, Noah and Neil (or as I like to call them, online marketers who teach online marketers about online marketing) who give fantastic advice, strategies and tips on how to make projects like mine successful.
I started with a few assumptions (that I can get to a 1000 person email list and 600 daily visitors) and a little creative brainstorming session to understand the specifics of what needs to happen for me to reach my goal. Be warned, I’m about to throw some numbers at you.
Option #1: Sell ebooks
- The idea: Create and publish an ebook, either on wedding music and readings, or wedding planning productivity.
- Pros: Passive income stream (the work gets done once, upfront)
- Cons: Higher volume of units need to be sold
- The numbers:
[fruitful_ibox column=”ffs-three-one” title=”$10/ebook”]sell 100 units @ 10% conversion rate[/fruitful_ibox]
[fruitful_ibox column=”ffs-three-one” title=”$20/ebook”]sell 50 units @ 5% conversion rate[/fruitful_ibox]
[fruitful_ibox column=”ffs-three-one” title=”$35/ebook” last=”true”]sell 29 units @ 3% conversion rate[/fruitful_ibox]
Idea #2: Flash sales
- Idea: Partner with brands for a short term sale – my sister, who is launching her gorgeous collection on her e-commerce store Mestiza NY later this month, has some great cocktail and wedding appropriate dresses that could make for a perfect partnership
- Pros: Higher price point items = fewer units that need to be sold
- Cons: Not a sustainable business model
- The numbers:
[fruitful_ibox column=”ffs-two-one” title=”$75 commission per dress”]sell 14 units @ 1.4% conversion rate[/fruitful_ibox]
[fruitful_ibox column=”ffs-two-one” title=”$100 commission per dress” last=”true”]sell 10 units @ 1% conversion rate.[/fruitful_ibox][/fruitful_ibox_row]
Idea #3: Sell advertising space
- Idea: Run ads on Idojour.com
- Pros: Easy to set up, recurring revenue stream
- Cons: I’d need to 5x my traffic to earn $1000
- The numbers: I’d earn $200 (based on the going ad rates)
QUESTION 2: What’s the verdict?
I’ve decided to go with option 1. The ebook route, which I hope to price at $15-$20.
This is the more challenging option. It requires more money, more conversions and many many more hours of work, but I had to take into consideration my longer term goals. Beyond this 30 day challenge, I want Idojour to be a site that generates recurring revenue without heavy involvement on my part, and this route offers the best chance of achieving that.
Reverse Engineering the Job
With that decision made, I kept working backwards so that I could figure out exact next steps.
QUESTION 3: What do I need to do to sell 50 ebooks?
It turns out, a lot. I need to:
- Grow my email list from 484 subscribers to 1000
- Increase my traffic to conversion rate from .91% to 2%
- Double the amount of traffic from 300 daily visitors to 600
- Create a product that at least 5% of brides will purchase
Actually, it’s anything but and I’m terrified. But at least I had some next steps to work with. This is what I did this week:
Research, research and more research, so that I could understand what brides really want and what they’re willing to pay for. If I can get to know brides better than they know themselves, I’ll be in a great position to create an AMAZING product that they’ll be clamoring to get their hands on. I also wanted to find out what kind of wedding content has already been widely shared, so that I could focus on creating better content that I know works.
Capture the low hanging fruit. Instead of going out and finding more traffic (that comes later), I worked on trying to increase the conversion rate of my existing visitors. First, I updated my 10 most popular posts, making sure they were thorough, up to date, pretty, and search engine friendly.
Then, I made some tweaks to my website design and set up a bunch of A/B tests on my email signup forms to see what messages resonated the best.
Let’s start with some good news. I made $60 from selling earrings I had in old inventory to my sister. So that’s a start.
Unfortunately, the rest of this project isn’t going so well. All the hours I spent fixing the “low hanging fruit” hasn’t made a single dent in my email signups. On top of that, the first email I sent out to my list resulted in 15 unsubscribes. What the hell!
I’m also going around in circles trying to understand the psychology of brides. Despite all of this research and data I’ve accumulated, I still don’t have a definitive answer on what they want. Which means that I have no idea what product I’m going to sell. And the clock is ticking ticking ticking.
So I’m feeling pretty discouraged. I feel like I’m being mocked by old Rosanna for thinking that Idojour had potential and that I could revive it so quickly and swiftly. She’s smirking at me like a bully on the playground, taunting me to just give it up already.
I considered it. Which is why a few days ago I went to Facebook and did this:
There’s nothing like a little public accountability to get you back on track.
I’m gonna do this folks. I’m going to figure this out.
Until I do, if you know anyone who’s planning a wedding, do send them to Idojour.
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